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Environmental Science

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Minor

The Environmental Science Program

The environmental science program at Saint Vincent College at its core concerns itself with solving environmental problems. Students will develop a strong scientific background combined with knowledge of environmental topics, while courses in the humanities will put these topics into the context of our modern society. As a result, students with a degree in environmental science from Saint Vincent College will be ideally prepared for a career in the field.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Environmental Science?

Environmental science is multidisciplinary in its approach to solving environmental problems. Our philosophy is that environmental problems are best solved through careful scientific investigations within the context of social, political and ethical studies.

Required coursework in the natural sciences provides students with a strong scientific background. Advanced courses in environmental topics such as wildlife biology, environmental chemistry or environmental disturbances provide depth of scientific investigations. Courses in the social sciences and humanities provide context for working on environmental problems in modern society.

As a result, our students are prepared to pursue a variety of careers in the environmental field. By choosing a minor or electives, students can design a program that ideally fits their career goals. The major can prepare students for careers in the environmental field such as environmental monitoring or testing, environmental communication, watershed management or environmental education. Students can also pursue graduate programs in environmental science, environmental law or education.

Curriculum Requirements

  • Curriculum

    Major Requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science

    Environmental Science Major Requirements (66-68 credits):
    ES 150-152 Earth Systems Science and Lab - 4 credits
    MA 109-110 Calculus I and II* - 8 credits
    CH 101-104 General Chemistry I and II and Labs* - 8 credits
    CH 216, 218 Quantitative Analysis and Lab - 4 credits
    BL 150-153 General Biology I and II and Labs - 8 credits
    BL 232, 233 Ecology and Lab - 4 credits
    PH 111, 113 General Physics I and Lab - 4 credits
    ES 220 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems - 3 credits
    ES 301 Capstone Experience: Senior Research - 2 credits
    ES 300 Junior Seminar - 1 credit
    ES 302 Senior Seminar - 1 credit
    Environmental Science Internship - 1 credit

    Humanities: Choose at least two: 
    EL 111 Green Writing: Literature and the Environment* - 3 credits
    HI 226 Society and the Environment: the American Experience* - 3 credits
    PL 217 Environmental Ethics* - 3 credits

    Social Science: 
    PS 390 Environmental Law and Policy* - 3 credits
    SO 161 Environmental Sociology* - 3 credits

    Advanced Environmental Courses 8 - 10 credits
    Environmental Biology: Choose 1 course with lab if available (3-4 credits)
    BL 228, 229 Wildlife Biology and Lab - 4 credits
    BL 230 Ornithology - 3 credits
    BL 238-239 Aquatic Ecology and Toxicology Lab - 4 credits
    BL 240-241 Conservation Biology and Lab - 4 credits

    Physical Environmental Science: Choose 1 course with lab (4-5 credits)
    ES 230 Energy and the Environment - 4 credits
    ES 240 Geophysics and Lab - 4 credits
    CH 276, 277 Advanced Environmental Chemistry and Methods of Environmental Analysis - 5 credits
    *Fulfill core curriculum requirements

    Electives: 18-20 credits

    Requirements for Minor in Environmental Science****(15-17 credits):
    ES 150-152 Earth Systems Science and Lab - 4 credits
    BL 232-233 Ecology and Lab*** - 4 credits
    CH 216-218 Quantitative Analysis and Lab*** - 4 credits
    Choose one course with lab: (May not count toward major)
    CH 276 Advanced Environmental Chemistry*** - 3 credits
    CH 277 Methods of Environmental Analysis (lab)*** - 2 credits
    BL 228-229 Wildlife Biology and Lab*** - 4 credits
    BL 230 Ornithology*** - 3 credits
    BL 238-239 Aquatic Ecology and Toxicologyand Lab*** - 4 credits
    BL 240-241 Conservation Biology and Lab*** - 4 credits
    ES 230 Energy and the Environment*** - 4 credits

    ***General Chemistry I and II and/or General Biology I and II are prerequisites for these courses.
    ****Environmental Science and Environmental Chemistry majors may not minor in Environmental Science or Environmental Studies.

  • Program Prerequisites

    Program Prerequisites
    The environmental science program at Saint Vincent College builds a strong foundation for students looking to begin a career in the natural sciences. To enter into the program, students should have three years of academic high school-level math and science courses.
  • Typical Freshman Schedule

    CH 101 General Chemistry I - 3 credits
    CH 103 General Chemistry I Laboratory - 1 credit
    SO 161 Environmental Sociology - 3 credits
    Modern and Classical Language - 3 or 4 credits
    EL 102 Language & Rhetoric - 3 credits
    First-Year Seminar - 1 credit
    Total Fall 14 or 15 credits

    CH 102 General Chemistry II - 3 credits
    CH 104 General Chemistry II Laboratory - 1 credit
    ES 150 Earth Systems Science - 3 credits
    ES 152 Earth Systems Science Laboratory - 1 credit
    Modern and Classical Language - 3 credits
    TH 119 First Theology - 3 credits
    Total Spring 14 credits

    Total Freshman Year 30 credits 

    All students will take one three (3) credit course designated as a Freshman Seminar which will satisfy a core curriculum requirement.

Program Highlights


Environmental Science Results
    • The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve and Monastery Run Improvement Wetlands provide students with outdoor laboratories and places on campus to relax in a natural setting.
    • Environmental Science students have had internships with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Cornell University, Loyalhanna Watershed Association, Pittsburgh Zoo and other organizations.
    • Our graduates have gone on to graduate school in diverse areas such as marine biology, outdoor recreation and environmental management.
    • In 2013, the environmental science program received a 3 year grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to digitize coal mine maps. Student interns will work during the summer using GIS technology to digitize and geo-reference over 350 maps.
    • In 2012, the environmental science program received a grant from Dominion to enhance our teaching of energy-related topics such as solar, biofuels, Marcellus shale and coal.  

Internships and Careers in Environmental Science

Students in the environmental science program gain theoretical and practical experience in the classroom and laboratories, but the learning process extends beyond the classroom. Internships offer the opportunity to gain real-world experience before graduation, allowing our students to be better prepared for the competitive field of environmental science. In recent years, our students have interned at organizations such as:

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Cornell University
  • The Loyalhanna Watershed Association
  • The Pittsburgh Zoo
  • and others.

As a result of these internships, our students are prepared for a career in environmental science. In fact, the knowledge gained in the classroom combined with the experience gained during an internship are an ideal preparation for a career in environmental monitoring or testing, environmental communications, watershed management, environmental education and other related industries.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Scientific Skills. Demonstrate a proficiency in laboratory skills to collect data and technological competency from multiple disciplines.
  • Scientific Principles. Apply scientific principles to environmental problems.
  • Communication. Express scientific information clearly in both written work and oral communication.
  • Data Analysis. Analyze and display scientific data and utilize it as evidence for a conclusion.
  • Information Literacy. Find, evaluate and utilize sources of information appropriately and ethically.
  • Diverse Perspectives. Consider and evaluate environmental problems from multiple perspectives in the context of our modern society to synthesize and develop a holistic understanding of the key issues linked to these problems.